By Jack Beresford
A-League side Brisbane Roar suffered the worst kind of humiliation after slumping to a 3-2 defeat in their Asian Champions League clash with Filipino minnows Ceres-Negros.
The Australian outfit exited the tournament despite taking an early lead through ex-Middlesbrough hero Massimo Maccarone (now 38), as the visitors countered with three goals that laid the foundation for the unlikeliest of victories.
Eric Bautheac pulled one back for the hosts late on, but it wasn’t enough and the indignity was further compounded when the numbers on the back of three Brisbane Roar players’ shirts began to peel and fall off.
Roar staff tried desperately to salvage the situation with a few bits of carefully positioned orange tape but, in truth, they were merely papering over the cracks.
At one point, Bautheac left the pitch with his own number hanging off and, after a few minutes, re-entered the fray with the No.77 taped to his back – because apparently there were no other No.22 shirts available.
Teammate Ivan Franjic was supposed to already be playing in the No.77 shirt, but one of the digits had fallen off leaving the winger inadvertently sporting the No.7.
Lack of professionalism and no attention to detail by the @brisbaneroar . Can you imagine Tom Brady coming into the field for the @Patriots with a jersey like that? . #BRIvCER #AmateurHour #ALeague #Brisbane pic.twitter.com/5ii7oBtAZ6
— Sports Freakshow (@aussiebeastmode) January 23, 2018
As adverts for the Aussie game go, the match proved to be an ugly sight in every sense of the word and pundits were quick to stick the boot in.
Analysing the game for Fox Sports, Mark Bosnich said:
Congratulations to Ceres-Negros, we saw how much it meant to them to win this game. Well, we also saw how much it meant to Brisbane with that farcical episode with the jerseys.
If you don’t want to be in the competition for whatever reason then just pull out rather than putting us through that – that was just absolutely embarrassing.
I really am speechless – it’s hard to say anything else other than say pull out of the competition. I’ve never seen anything like that is my footballing life. Not even as a junior playing Under-10s in Sydney.
Fellow former Socceroo Ned Zelic echoed Bosnich’s sentiments:
Who is responsible for these numbers falling off the shirts? This is a disgrace.
When the goalkeeper’s number is falling off the shirt, then you know you’re in trouble.
The result means the reigning Philippines Football League champions progress to the ACL group phase, becoming the first Filipino club to record a play-off win in the process.
Brisbane Roar’s continental campaign, meanwhile, is already over and you’ve probably also got to worry about the future employment status of their kit man.